Elton John Defends Ellen DeGeneres’ Friendship With George W. Bush Amid Twitter Backlash

The US chat show host and comedian insists she has the right to be friends with people with opposing political views.

Elton John has defended Ellen DeGeneres after the US chat show host was spotted at an American Football game sat next to former US president George W. Bush.

The presenter and comedian - and self-proclaimed liberal - spoke out following a backlash over footage that showed her chatting and laughing with Republican Bush and his wife Laura at a Dallas Cowboys game last week.

Ellen later defended their friendship on her show, claiming she’s friends with people even if they have opposing political views.

Defending Ellen during an interview on NPR, Elton said: “Unfortunately, what our democracy has become now is that it’s not okay to have different opinions than yours and that is not healthy.

“George Bush has made a lot of mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes. Ellen DeGeneres has made a lot of mistakes.”

The singer continued: “Yes, there were [bad] decisions that he’s made, but that was made by Democratic presidents and Republican presidents. And I admire Ellen for standing up and saying what she did.”

(l-r) Portia de Rossi, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres attend the 16th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party on February 24, 2008.
(l-r) Portia de Rossi, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres attend the 16th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party on February 24, 2008.
John Shearer via Getty Images

Elton went on to praise the former president for launching the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief (Pepfar), an initiative that has provided more than $80 billion (£72 billion) to fund research into the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Addressing the controversy last week, Ellen told viewers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she and wife Portia de Rossi had been invited to the NFL game by Charlotte Jones, daughter of the Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.

“During the game, they showed a shot of me and George laughing together, and so people were upset,” Ellen explained.

“They thought, ‘why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?’,” before joking: “They didn’t even notice I’m holding the brand-new iPhone 11 in the shot.”

She continued: “But a lot of people were mad, and they did what people do when they’re mad: they tweet.”

The 61-year-old then shared a positive tweet, which said, “Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again.”

She added: “Exactly. Here’s the thing. I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have.

“We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different.

“For instance, I wish people wouldn’t wear fur. I don’t like it, but I’m friends with people who wear fur. And I’m friends with people who are furry, as a matter of fact. I have friends who should tweeze more,” she joked.

“But just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say, ‘be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”

“Even people who are already playing Christmas music. I mean seriously, there’s no excuse for that, but I’m kind to them.

She ended by thanking the Bushes “for a Sunday afternoon that was so fun”.

“By the way, you owe me $6 for the nachos,” she added.